Three Keys to Effectiveness in Feedback

 In Pei Blog

Some of my biggest lessons from working with leaders on the topic of giving and receiving feedback.

I’m always learning.  Since I wrote The Art of Growing Through Feedback about a year ago, I’ve had the chance to work with a variety of teams and individuals about the feedback processes in their lives.  I’ve been able to make some observations about what works, and what doesn’t work.

Here are three of the biggest keys to effectiveness in feedback:

  • Start talking about it.

    The first key to making feedback part of a team or organization’s culture, is to simply start talking about it… a lot.  It helps people to not be as afraid or uncomfortable about feedback.  If you’re not sure how to start the conversation, have your team share about their personal history with feedback.  Did they grow up in a household with mostly critical feedback?  Were they ever invited to give feedback to their parents or leaders?  These conversations often unlock the door to much more.  I’ve included some more discussion questions at the end of this post.

  • Relationships are the key.

    If we’re not comfortable with feedback, it’s best to start practicing with “safe” people in our lives, whom we trust and know well.  If we mostly ask people who don’t know us, or are overly critical, it may discourage us from seeking more feedback.  Eventually we can and should move on to seeking feedback from a bigger pool of people, but don’t jump right into the deep end.  : )

  • Create a regular mechanism for feedback.

    It’s most helpful to have a built-in, consistent structure for feedback in our jobs or lives.  For instance, a team leader I know takes 30 minutes once a month to simply listen to any feedback her teammates have for her personally.  It’s built into the team’s schedule.

That’s also why I made The Art of Growing Through Feedback into an interactive guide that you can discuss with a friend or team.  Structured content helps many people to think and talk about topics, that they wouldn’t otherwise engage on a regular basis.

Below are some discussion questions about feedback that others have found helpful.  Try them out and see if they spark some good conversations for your family, friends, or coworkers!

  1. How much feedback are you used to getting, and how do you tend to respond to it? How was this shaped by your family or cultural upbringing?
  1. Describe a time that someone did a good job giving you constructive feedback. What was helpful about how they did it?
  1. Ask someone you trust and know well: “What’s one small thing I can do to change or improve our communication or relationship?”

Let me know how it goes, and what you learn!

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